Friday, February 17, 2017


Feeling so warmly toward attorneys and judges and their support staff who are doing their jobs and upholding our laws.

I made a valentine strawberries and cream pavlova. My first meringue cake! It came out in texture and everything. It could have been improved by fresh berries but this is winter. White and pink and yum.

To my surprise I found the meringue tooth-aching-ly sweet. It was 6 egg whites to a cup and a half of sugar and that ratio 1/4 cup of sugar per egg white is a common ratio. But here is someone who has experimented with reducing the sugar and gotten good results with 4 tsps of sugar per egg white. I'll try that next time I want to meringue out.

British discoveries
New to me blog voxturturis is explaining things. Things I have waited a long time to understand:
  • Link to an explanation of what a lime tree is in Europe. I knew they couldn't be citrus trees but hadn't understood that they are also called linden trees. Lovely scented blooms and dense even wood prized by woodworkers. I had hear of Berlin's Unter den Linden boulevard ('under the lime trees') and was confused because northern Europe is not in the citrus zone.
  • Why British housewives were so into cleaning the front step (and the flagstone in front of that) of the house. I knew it was a source of pride and that it was done daily. But why scrub it so often? Soot! This makes so much sense. We are lucky not to live in a city in the early throes of industrial expansion.
Hoarding for later
By Singing Light posted a list of fave novels with romance in them. With Gaudy Night starting it off, I am sure I need to look at these. I haven't read any of the other titles:

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

The Scorpion Rules and The Swan Riders by Erin Bow

The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Betsy & Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace

Chime by Franny Billingsley

A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

The Medair duology by Andrea K. Höst

I just picked up a novel I had requested:  Aaronovitch's latest Peter Grant book . So exciting! Currently I am in the last third of All The Birds in the Sky which is a good read. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Good distractions

Serious cake
This citrus cake ends up tasting a little like a scone but with a lighter crumb. It was a success and didn't take much effort to whip up. I made it with tangelo rind and juice and I think you could use absolutely any citrus fruit at all. I can't remember where I got the recipe, I copied it out on paper with no attribution. Thank you, mystery cake recipe source!

Half a stick of butter, 4T, softened and creamed with
3/4 cup sugar
Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time
Add 1 T grated zest (this sounded like a lot to me, I used zest from one tiny tangelo and one medium orange) and 1 T juice from your citrus fruit of choice

Whisk together dry ingredients:
1 cup a.p. flour
1/4 cup corn meal
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt

Add the dry ingredients to the batter alternating with:
2/3 cup plain yogurt thinned with some milk (or use buttermilk)

Pour in a greased cake pan, sprinkle some sugar on top, bake at 350° F for about 20 min, until a toothpick comes out clean.

It would also be good with a glaze but I was completely happy with it as is.

Towering letters
A game recommendation from who says it's "an addictive little game that's like a cross between Boggle and Candy Crush" Spelltower, Maybe this will be a good change from my favorite evil indulgence Bubble Candy.

Disturbing folk
Parking this here to dip into in the future. The BBC's list of 10 of the most disturbing folk songs. And the counter suggestions of the FBookers who discussed it:

Here's the first version i ever heard
Planxty - The Well Below The Valley

Much more disturbing I think but some variants related, you're right there!

How could they leave off The Two Sisters?

Yes, The Two Sisters was one of the first that sprang to mind for. Also whatever lineage "Son, Oh Son" (as done by Boiled In Lead) came from. They changed the verses so the brother doesn't get off scot free.

Boiled In Lead - Son O Son (live)

One of my favorites of theirs! Here's another excellent variant:

What Put the Blood?

The last word on "The Cruel Mother":

The Twa Corbies/The Three Ravens/Willie McGee McGaw

Lyke-Wake Dirge

Down in the Forest

The Water Lily ...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Lemur posing

Bring me my lemur.

Detail from the portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Cortaud and their pet lemur found at the Gods and Foolish Grandeur blog. The artist is Leonard Campbell Taylor and it's worth clicking through to see the 1930s hoity toityness of this couple and their room.

Long haired cat Zing is the closest lemur substitute in our house. She wanted me to get up and entertain her this morning at 6:10 after my alarm went off. Or maybe she was lodging a complaint about the outside temperature being below 20F. At any rate I ignored her nibbling and went back to sleep.

For the last week I've woken up with at least one blocked ear. Usually it resolves itself by midday and I feel better in the afternoon. I've encountered many people with terrible colds in the last week or so and I am hoping my luck holds.

Who is collecting
Very interesting talk on educational technology in terms of the present political climate. There is so much personal information collected about every student now. It's stored in a patchwork of locations, more and more in the cloud and not under direct school control (and of course not under student control). There are businesses trying to leverage all that info to sell new products to schools. The talk points out the evolution of information gathering tech and how it was used in, yes, wait for it, Nazi Germany. I hadn't considered all of these angles before. I agree with the conclusion that personal relationships both in and out of the classroom are what needs to be valued. To get us into the future.

Franchise opportunity
I try not to read Mimi Smartypants posts too soon because they are few and far between these days. She recently tweeted a link to a 6 year old post that is high value. Sustainable walrus farming will be making me smile for the rest of the day.